JACKSON, Miss. – The Mississippi State Department of Health Office of Health Data and Research was recently awarded a $14,750 grant from the March of Dimes to reduce smoking during pregnancy, a leading cause of infant mortality.
Among women who smoked at least some during their pregnancies in 2010, the infant mortality rate was 11.9 per 1,000 births compared to 8.3 for women who did not smoke. The rate of infant mortality among black women who smoke is 20.1 and for white women who smoke it is 9.3 per 1,000 births.
Smoking during pregnancy is also linked with premature delivery and birth defects, major factors in infant death. Mississippi historically leads the nation in the rates of premature births, low infant birth weight, and infant deaths.
“The NEXT (Nurse Educator eXpert Training) project will support the Mississippi State Department of Health’s efforts to reduce infant mortality,” said Dr. Juanita Graham, Grants and Special Projects Coordinator for the Office of Health Data and Research. “Smoking in pregnancy and exposure to secondhand smoke during pregnancy contribute to low infant birthweight, a leading cause of infant death in Mississippi.”
Forty-three percent of Mississippi mothers who smoke, quit smoking during pregnancy. However, over half of them resume smoking after pregnancy. Additional intervention, through programs like NEXT, is needed to further reduce smoking among women of child-bearing age before, during and after pregnancy.
For more information on smoking and pregnancy, visit HealthyMS.com/pregnancy.